We celebrate Father’s Day with Archie Manning and Jack Harbaugh

June 14, 2013

With Father’s Day right around the corner, we thought we’d sit down with a couple superstar dads to get the lowdown on what it’s like to raise superstar sons. Here’s what Archie Manning and Jack Harbaugh had to say.

When did Peyton and Eli express their love for football?
Archie Manning: They have always loved football, but when I was playing my favorite time of the week was on Saturdays—we could bring the family. I was looking forward to the time when they were old enough to do that and participate. So they were always exposed early. They started playing organized [football] around seventh or eighth grade, but they played all sports: baseball, soccer, basketball. I didn’t push them towards football, but they always had interest.

Describe the feeling when you watch your sons as QB.
AM: I get a little nervous to be honest. I get the butterflies before the games. It was easier as a player, because once you start playing and get hit in the mouth, it’s over. You are now locked in. The nervousness as a father watching, it stays with you. Especially watching them at QB. It’s a tough position and they take a lot of punishment. It’s not easy.

How often to you get to spend Father’s Day with your children and grandchildren? Who calls first?
AM: They all call—that’s what matters! We see Cooper all the time, with him living in new Orleans, and we went out to visit Peyton and his family in Denver not long ago. With us being in New York, we will spend Father’s Day this year with Eli and his family. With football, it’s tough to get your family together during holidays, so you cherish the time you spend with them.

How does it feel to know your two sons have taken after you?
AM: I don’t see it as them taking after me as QBs. I was just glad they were interested in sports. I feel athletics is very important for young people. Not saying just being a pro or play in college. They need the life lessons of sports, and things to occupy their time. They had the goals to go out and play college ball, and they worked very hard. I didn’t see it as them really taking after me.

What accomplishments are you most proud of in all your sons?
AM: All three have given joy. Cooper and his wife headed up a fund raiser for a new gym for their daughter’s school. Peyton – they dedicated the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. I told him that this was his finest hour. And then there is the Eli Manning Children’s Clinic in Jackson, Mississippi.

What’s the best Father’s Day gift you’ve received?
AM: Never had a bad one! The best thing is to hear from your children and grandchildren. What is great is watching our sons on father’s day with their children.

What will you be doing for Father’s Day this year?
AM: Looking forward to spending with Eli, Abby, and Ava, with another on the way. I’ll see Cooper and his family next week. We were out in Denver about 10 days ago seeing Peyton.

What are your experiences with NFL SUNDAY TICKET?
AM: Been associated with NFL SUNDAY TICKET for a long time. It has been a part of our lives every Sunday during the season for years. One of the neatest things is I used to miss time, but now I can catch the other game on the phone if I’m running late to get to a TV.

It’s tough to imagine the feeling you had during Super Bowl last year seeing your boys coaching against each other. Give us an idea of what that was like?
Jack Harbaugh: Tremendous pride, love and knowing how much hard work and the amount of energy and effort that went into it. Jackie and I were able to experience the whole week with them. We had all three children and 10 grandchildren were all there. Celebration of family was our thought during that. And then the game, with two sons competing on the biggest stage was just amazing.

Did you always know your sons would be NFL coaches?
JH: No. From the time they went out for football, we always hoped they had a good experience. And they enjoyed the game. And have a smile. Jim went to Michigan and John to Miami [University in Ohio] and we wanted them to have a good experience. Graduate and have a good experience. Jim went to the pros, John to coach. I think parents sometimes put too high expectations on their kids to go to college for sports, and play at the next level. Those things possibly could come. Our goal was to have them make great friends, have a great experience and enjoy their time.

How does it feel to know your two sons have taken after you?
JH: Greatest satisfaction was seeing all our children in the sports world. Our daughter married Tom Crean (University of Indiana head basketball coach). They saw all the good, the bad, the ugly with sports and still wanted to experience that life. It’s a good feeling to know that it is something they wanted to continue on with in their lives.

Growing up, were Jim and John competitive and intense?
JH: Very competitive. Only 15 months apart. There whole life they shared a room. Put tape on the floor, you can’t cross. But one thing about them is they are best friends. They don’t go a week without speaking or sharing stories about their teams. And they are very protective of each other.

How often are you able to get together with both sons?
JH: Only once since Super Bowl. We talk once or twice a week. But we visit with all the families and seeing the grandkids and seeing how much love is our greatest reward.

What’s the best Father’s Day gift you’ve received?
JH: I came down on Father’s Day feeling pretty good and excited for all the gifts and breakfast, and John said that every day is father’s day, so this is just another day. And they were on to something. It is Father’s Day every day. We come to enjoy those days as a parent and grandparent.

Will you be able to spend Father’s Day with them and your families?
JH: I have a thing about who calls first, and I’ll tell them who’s first etc. Jim feels he is at a disadvantage being on the West Coast. He has decided that he will never be first. We will make sure to let everyone know who is first.

What are your experiences with NFL SUNDAY TICKET?
JH: We have been with NFL SUNDAY TICKET back from its inception. The only way we could watch Jim while living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, was having SUNDAY TICKET. Another story, our seven-year-old grandson, Reilly, had a game a 1pm, same time as the Ravens. We were able to take our tablet to the game and watch the Ravens while we watched our grandson play. And now living in Milwaukee, we have the ability to watch the 49ers on the West Coast as well as the Ravens games out East. We are great fans of DIRECTV and NFL SUNDAY TICKET.